Absence Makes The Heart Grow Fonder

First of all, I just wanted to welcome all the new readers. I’ve had a spike in traffic over the past few months — so I figured it was about time to say hi to all of you who’re so kind to read my little blog.

I’ve noticed that my most popular posts on marriage (found here and here) and breastfeeding (found here and here) have hit a real nerve — in a positive way — with many of you. I’m trying to catch up on all the comments and some of the emails.

As for the reason for my absence — I had my fourth baby in January. He came four weeks early so things were chaotic for a while — and still are! I needed an extended break from the stress of blogging. Because it IS stressful. Even though it shouldn’t be. Blogging should be something that I enjoy, and I want to get back to the enjoyable aspect of it.

Baby, cute, VSCO

Our newest addition

As for the four kids — well — it’s a lot. I knew what we were getting into when we decided to take the plunge for the fourth (and last!) baby, but the newborn baby stage is never easy no matter how much experience you have.

And I’ve come to realize that being a parent of four children has set me apart from other parents.

I officially belong to The Four Kids Club. I say this because I get looks of awe mixed with horror when people find out I have four children. I’ve even heard a few audible gasps from strangers. In the DC area, a family of six is considered an anomaly — weird — maybe even a bit psycho. But that’s okay.

We ARE crazy. Crazy in an awesome, fabulous way. In my opinion, that is.

So thanks to all of you newcomers for stopping by. I hope to give you more posts to read and enjoy. Right now I can only post on a weekly basis due to my membership to The Four Kids Club or TFKC. But even then I can’t make any promises due to the crazy life that I lead. In the meantime, feel free to like me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter (although I don’t tweet much ) or follow me on instagram.

— Sonja

Love By A Different Name

meandryan2013

Me and Ryan

I really believe that the first born child has it harder than the rest. I guess that doesn’t sound fair to the middle children or the babies — but it’s true.

Oldest babies are the test babies. The ones who have to live through their inept first-time parents’ mistakes. The ones who have to live a life recovering from their parents’ neuroses and anxieties about raising a human being for the first time — a foreign, precious, and terrifying experience. The responsibility of being a parent doesn’t really hit you until you’re holding that helpless creature in your arms and looking into those newborn eyes that encompass endless possibilities.

My boy. My oldest. I made mistakes with him. I had him too young. I wasn’t ready for his amazing, life-altering presence. But I did the best I could.

Now he’s approaching thirteen. He smiles less. He rolls his eyes at me. But he’s still Ryan. Funny. Helpful. Neurotic. Imaginative.

He has a learning disability that makes school a challenge for him. Some nights, his homework is almost unbearable for him. Tears well up in his eyes. “What’s wrong with me?” he says, as he rests his head in his hands in utter defeat.

It breaks my fucking heart. I want him to be happy. To know that my love for him is vaster than a billion universes combined. When I give him hugs, he puts his head on my shoulder — and I know he’s slipping away. Away to that tumultuous, angst-ridden place called teenagerdom. And I don’t want him to leave. Because he’ll see me with new eyes. He’ll see the mistakes I made.

And as he stands on that cusp, I’m about to give birth to my last baby. My last boy. A baby I’m ready for. A baby who’ll have more than Ryan. A baby who (god willing) won’t have to go through some of the difficulties that Ryan went through.

Untitled

As I’ve grown older, I’ve become a better parent — more patient and better able to enjoy the moment. I didn’t have that joy and unceasing devotion when I was young. I wasn’t a bad parent; I just wasn’t ready. I was in a perpetual state of impatience, waiting for that next developmental stage, because — god. It sounds awful, but I just wanted Ryan to grow up already. I loved him with ceaseless intensity, but I didn’t know how to enjoy motherhood. And he had to have felt that. I know he felt that.

So now I’m in my thirties. I have a three-year-old and a new little one waiting to make his entrance into this world. And I’m ready and able to give them boundless patience and tenderness. I’m ready to enjoy every moment of their little lives. It’s not fair to Ryan, but as Ryan has grown I’ve become a better mother to him. And that’s something, right?

Damn it. Here I am, not even a week after writing a post on mom guilt, and it’s here staring me in the face. Fucking guilt. But I’m human, and the best I can do is forge forward as a better mother, giving all my children the love they deserve; love by a different name.

Am I The Only One Annoyed By That Mom Video?

Or am I being a grump?

It’s the one posted on Huffington Post, called The Video Every Mom Must Watch On Repeat Until She Gets It.

o-MOM-CRYING-VIDEO-facebook

Mom video invades my Facebook feed.

A quick synopsis:

1. Moms sit down to discuss how horrible they are at being mothers. They feel guilty for yelling and not having enough patience, etc, etc.

2. Kids sit down to discuss how awesome these moms are — how they spend time with them, all the shopping, movie watching, jumping on trampolines, etc, that their moms do with them. In conclusion, the kids all say the moms are heroic.

3. Moms sit back down to watch the video of what their kids said about them. The result is tears and smiles and a renewed sense of hope at motherhood.

So.

It’s a sweet video, but was I the only one NOT moved by this? Was I the only one who found this trite and a bit cringe-worthy? Was I the only one annoyed with being told to watch a video on repeat until I “get it?”

Parenting guilt is definitely not exclusive to mothers. And I surely don’t need a video of my children proclaiming their love to make me feel better. My kids proclaim their love often enough through hugs, cuddles, and words. I can be hard on myself at times, just like any other mom — but I don’t feel that these children said anything that these mothers haven’t heard before.

Oh well. What do you think?

Follow on Bloglovin

Kid’s got a mouth (and other complaints)

What the hell? When did this happen? Everything — and I mean everything I do is wrong. Okay maybe not everything, but pretty damn close. Ryan is only a few months away from his twelfth birthday and he’s already driving me crazy with his adolescent self.

“Mom, why can’t you EVER, EVER say yes to ANYTHING?”  He asks me this after I said no to his offer of paying me 20 bucks so he could use the iPad. Fer Realz? Bribing your own mother? You’re offering to pay me to use the iPad?? Kid you’ve got some nerve.

“GET in your ROOM and do your homework NOW!” I sputter.

Mouthy Ryan

Holy hell.  I thought the newborn stage was tough… this whole teenage thing is gonna be a major pain in the ass.  Kid is already telling me how to drive.  Yeah.

“Mom you didn’t have to hit the gas so hard.”

Really?  REALLY? Do YOU want to teach me how to drive Mr. I’m-Eleven-Years-Old-And-I-Know-Everything?

“Huh,” I say, “Interesting… so how many years have you been driving?”

He mumbles something.

HA! Ha HA! I win! The mom ALWAYS wins.

At least that’s what I like to tell myself.  I mean, I DID hit the gas kinda hard.

In other news of annoyances, I really can’t stand it when people criticize parents through their children.  For example: Neighbor walks up to me and my rosy baby walking through the neighborhood on a Winter’s day.  “Oh!” Says neighbor to my rosy baby, “You cute little thing! Why doesn’t mommy put gloves on you? Tell mommy how cold you are! Say ‘Mommy I’m cold! Put some gloves on me!'” Then neighbor proceeds to clasp my baby’s hands and rub them while looking at me accusingly.  I mumble something about how he’ll just take his gloves off and throw them on the ground, but neighbor already has it in her head that I’m an inept, irresponsible parent.

So yeah. I was going somewhere with this.

My son’s daycare provider did this today. My sweet little two year old Beckett comes running up to me, arms outstretched. I pick him up in a bear hug and shower him with kisses.  I put him down so the teacher can get his coat on.

“Little Beckett won’t run around and play outside anymore,” says teacher.

“Really?” I ask with worry.

“Yes, he insists on being picked up every time we’re outside.”

“Oh. That’s strange,” I say.

The teacher coo’s at Beckett, “Mommy needs to stop holding you so much, doesn’t she? You can walk all by yourself now because you’re a big boy!”

Fucking. Fucking. Fuck. Really?

“Oh…” my voice trails off in my inability to respond intelligently.

“Mommy doesn’t need to carry you to the car every day, does she? Maybe if she stops carrying you, you’ll not want to be held so much!” teacher says to Beckett as she smooths his curls.

“I… um… I don’t carrrrry him to the car every day.  He walks around quite a bit… uh..”

Teacher just smiles at me.

I meekly walk out the door with Beckett at my side, taking extra care not to pick him up and carry him to the car (I mean for Christ’s sake, I haven’t seen him all day).

“Have a good evening!” I call over my shoulder.

I pick Beckett up as soon as we’re outside the gate.

I suppose I could’ve picked him up immediately just to show her that I’m the boss, but I get a bit stumped in those situations and tend to just smile like an idiot, nod my head and comply with whatever passive aggressive message they’re trying to send me.

Oh well.

Meanwhile, in Gaza…